Truth Initiative

Logo of the Truth Initiative

CVS Health and Truth Initiative® have partnered to help end smoking and tobacco use at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and community colleges across the country with the goal of increasing the number of 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campuses.

The “truth × CVS Health Foundation” tobacco-free campus initiative is part of CVS Health’s Be The First campaign, the company’s five year, $50 million commitment to helping deliver the nation’s first tobacco-free generation. CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation have set actionable and measurable goals for Be The First, including a doubling of the number of tobacco-free educational institutions in the United States.

cvs heart

Support for ending tobacco use on campus

8 in 10

College students approve of policies that prohibit tobacco use on campus

Keeping campuses smoke- and tobacco-free

While smoking rates among youth and young adults have fallen in recent decades, tobacco use remains a significant public health concern. Fewer than one-half of all HBCUs and fewer than one-third of all community colleges have 100 percent smoke-free policies in place.Based on the Smokefree and Tobacco-Free U.S. and Tribal Colleges and Universities list the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation published on April 3, 2017.

Statistics show that nearly all smokers — 99 percent — begin using tobacco before age 27. We believe strongly that colleges and universities can help to prevent students from develop a lifelong and potentially life-threatening habit by adopting tobacco-free campus policies.

The Truth Initiative hosts awareness events on campuses and employs several community outreach managers responsible for connecting with schools across the country. Through support from the CVS Health Foundation, the Truth Initiative has provided funding to 106 grantees, including 42 HBCUs and 64 community colleges. At the end of 2017, a total of 61 colleges, including 18 HBCU grantees and 43 community college grantees, had successfully adopted 100 percent smoke- or tobacco-free policies.

Visit the Truth Initiative’s website to learn more.

Frank talk about suicide

Bottom of the article
"Just asking if someone is OK could be life-saving."

When she was younger, Aimee Prange struggled with thoughts of suicide. Following multiple attempts to take her life, she is in a healthier place, having learned positive coping skills and — perhaps most critically — how to ask for help: “Recovery is absolutely possible,” she says.

Anyone can have suicidal thoughts, says Aimee, now a licensed social worker and manager with Aetna Behavioral Health. “People often have an image of what a suicidal person looks like or what that means for their life forever after. I’d like to be a part of changing that conversation. We have to talk about it.”

That’s why CVS Health is supporting National Suicide Prevention Month by expanding access to mental health and suicide prevention resources.

“The focus of the health care system should be on early identification and support,” says Cara McNulty, President of Aetna’s Behavioral Health unit and EAP. “We can address vulnerable populations, and we can reduce suicide attempts. Our message is: It’s preventable, and you're not alone. There is access to care, and you do not have to be in this much pain.”

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 34. And, according to Cara, adolescents are especially vulnerable to pandemic-related grief. “We need to help these young adults access that grief, and that's going to take time. Without that grieving process, we will continue to see adolescent suicide rise.”

Young people of color face multiple vulnerabilities, Cara adds. “There are specific populations of Black and brown communities where we need to focus our efforts, so we are providing support.”

During the pandemic, CVS Health’s virtual mental health visits have exponentially increased. The company’s multifaceted approach to suicide prevention includes the Talk Saves Lives training program and a safety intervention for suicide attempt survivors. 

“If someone is dealing with anxiety or depression or suicide ideation, it's hard. To then say, ‘I need help,’ is really, really hard,” says Cara. “It’s so important that we have the courage to have conversations that help people feel included and accepted and seek the help and care they need.”

Aimee agrees. “Don’t assume somebody else will reach out. You’ve got to be the one to show there are people that care. That one little thing — just asking someone if they're OK — could be lifesaving. Don't wait.”

If you are thinking about suicide or know someone who is, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255).

Warning signs of suicide risk:

  • Withdrawing from activities

  • Sleeping a lot or sleeping very little

  • Aggression

  • Giving away possessions

  • Talking about hopelessness or being a burden to others

  • Increase in alcohol/drug use

Hide Media Contacts (Sidebar)
Hide Share
"Likes" Count
Display Hero
CSR Pillars
bc_video 5576439537001 sPw5TgNjFX tpm-plugin-c2617w4f-5576439537001

Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative

We’re clearing the air at campuses nationwide.

The CVS Health Foundation, American Cancer Society® and Truth Initiative® are awarding grants to hundreds of U.S. colleges and universities as part of a growing movement to accelerate and expand the number of campuses that are 100 percent smoke and tobacco free. With more than 99 percent of smokers starting by age 26, college and universities are an important partner in helping to reduce tobacco use.

The time is right to take action.

We’ve made great progress, but there is more that we can do. Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. Of the nation’s roughly 20 million college and university students, more than 1 million have been projected to die prematurely from cigarette smoking.

cvs heart

Support for ending tobacco use on campus

8 in 10

college students approve of policies that prohibit tobacco use on campus

Smart Campuses Quit

These schools make the grade for going tobacco free.

Hats off to these U.S. colleges and universities who are committed to developing 100% smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies.

See full list of schools going tobacco free

Share the good news!

Smart Campuses Quit! Will your school or alma mater be next? Tweet or post on Facebook or LinkedIn to your school to show your support!

I support 100% tobacco-free policies on college campuses! Who will be the next to quit? #SmartCampusesQuit

Post this to Twitter Post this to Facebook Post this to LinkedIn

Be the First

The Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative is part of Be the First CVS Health’s five-year, $50 million initiative that supports education, advocacy, tobacco control and healthy behavior programming. One goal includes doubling the number of tobacco-free college and university campuses in the United States.

Learn more

Commit to quit

November 15 is the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout. The annual effort encourages smokers to make a plan to quit for good.

Learn more
Make a plan to quit for good.

Smart campuses quit. Will yours?

Help your college advocate for, adopt and implement a 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus policy.

Send a letter to your campus administrators

Be The First

Together, we can help deliver the first tobacco-free generation.

bc_video 4794060331001 sPw5TgNjFX tpm-plugin-67dw2v4u-4794060331001

Let’s make history together

We’re helping deliver the first generation to be tobacco-free. As the nation’s largest pharmacy innovation company, CVS Health is uniquely positioned to help people on their path to better health, which includes playing a leading role in helping people lead tobacco-free lives. That’s why, through our company and the CVS Health Foundation, we’re investing $50 million and working with the nation’s leading anti-tobacco and youth organizations to support comprehensive education, advocacy, tobacco control and healthy behavior programming to help those who smoke quit and ensure those who don’t never start.

Part of our commitment to deliver the first tobacco-free generation includes a partnership with the CVS Health Foundation, American Cancer Society® and Truth Initiative® to award grants to hundreds of U.S. colleges and universities. Our Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative is part a growing movement to accelerate and expand the number of campuses that are 100 percent smoke and tobacco free.

bc_video 6049167276001 sPw5TgNjFX

In addition, we have invested in tobacco-free resources for students, parents, teachers, schools and youth organizations. These tools and curricula cover topics including the dangers of tobacco, e-cigarette use, healthy behaviors, and advocacy training.

Each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3,200 children under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette, with 580 who become regular, daily smokers. We have an opportunity to end this persistent epidemic, and ensure the health of 5.6 million children alive today who are at risk of becoming a tobacco statistic tomorrow.

bc_video 4794060302001 sPw5TgNjFX tpm-plugin-ivf73k61-4794060302001
cvs heart

CVS Health is investing


over 5 years to extend our commitment to helping people lead tobacco-free lives, and move us one step closer towards a tobacco-free generation.


youth reached with tobacco education curriculum

We can’t do it alone

With our partners, we’re working towards contributing to a 3% decline in youth smoking rate; a 10% decline in the number of new youth smokers; and doubling the number of tobacco-free colleges and universities.

American Cancer Society
American Lung Association
Discovery Education
Tobacco Prevention Toolkit
Truth Initiative
Tobacco Free Kids
Do Something
National Urban League
Catch Global Foundation
American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation
Yale Center for Health & Learning Games
Shape America

Tobacco-free resources

Tobacco use remains the number one preventable cause of death in the United States. Explore resources that help people live tobacco-free lives.

Smoking Cessation Resources
CDC Guide for Parents of Teens
Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Resource Center
Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative
Voter Views on Tobacco Use on College Campuses

bc_video 5976887471001 sPw5TgNjFX tpm-plugin-r8baty6q-5976887471001

Pharmacists Teach

Educating students and parents about prescription drug misuse

Prescription drug misuse and abuse can impact our nation’s youth, who face peer pressure and a lack of knowledge about the dangers of misuse.

As part of our ongoing commitment to help educate the public about the challenges surrounding addiction, CVS Health created Pharmacists Teach, a no-cost educational prevention program that provides students and parents with information about prescription drug misuse and abuse.

Since 2015, Pharmacists Teach has reached more than 560,000 students and parents nationwide and that number continues to grow.

Student-focused education

Since 2015, CVS Pharmacists have delivered education to students in grades 6 through 12 at schools, youth organizations, and faith-based groups. Led by one of our pharmacists, students have been able to learn the facts and hear stories that share how the lives of other youth were forever changed by misuse or abuse of prescription drugs.

Now, we are excited to announce CVS Health and Discovery Education have partnered to further expand the Pharmacists Teach program into the classroom with a no-cost prevention program, Dose of Knowledge. This program provides standards-aligned resources to educators and pharmacists across the U.S. This program strives to empower educators and pharmacists to address substance misuse and educate students to make good decisions for the health and well-being of themselves and their community.

Youth presentations can be delivered to groups of any size, from small groups to large assemblies, and is delivered at no cost to the school or organization.

Parent-focused education

Research shows that children who learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs than those who don’t get this information at home.DEA/ED. Growing Up Drug Free: A Parent’s Guide to Prevention

With this in mind, we expanded our outreach to create a prevention education program for adults to encourage parents, caregivers, friends and family members to talk about prescription misuse and abuse by arming them with knowledge about commonly abused drugs and how to identify the signs and symptoms of prescription misuse and abuse as well as helpful tips and tools needed to navigate challenging questions and answers around the topic.

“Prescription for Parents” includes impactful videos of real life stories and is led by a pharmacist who can answer questions about prescription misuse and abuse.

This presentation can be delivered to groups of any size at school parent meetings, community centers, religious organizations, and company meetings.

Contact us

If you’re interested in bringing these programs to your school, community or business, email us at

cvs heart

Pharmacists Teach


adolescents, on average, state to misuse prescription pain relievers each day.

A female and male colleague collaborating in a common area at CVS Health’s headquarters.

myCVS Journey

CVS Health is a national leader in building partnerships that prepare youth for the world of work, school, and life success. At the core of this work is myCVS Journey Pathways to Health Care Careers, a nationally recognized program that introduces students of all ages to career opportunities in:

  • Pharmacy Services

  • Professional Management

  • Medical and Nursing

  • IT, Analytics, and Engineering

This STEM-enriched program is designed to engage young people (aged 5 to 24) in age-appropriate awareness, exploration, and preparation for health care careers. This school-to-career model begins in elementary grades and continues through high school with opportunities to learn about careers with CVS Health in pharmacy, professional management, nursing, and information technology. 

Building careers across the country

With more than 320 active youth partnerships across the country, we are able to provide:

  • On-the-job training and skills building

  • School-based career days

  • Work-based learning programs

  • Exploration of post-secondary educational opportunities

  • Interview training and resume assistance

Getting involved

School or community-based organization representatives
If you are a school or community-based organization representative interested in CVS Health’s myCVS Journey partnership opportunities for your students, please contact the Workforce Initiatives team to be connected with your local CVS Health representative.

If you are interested in participating in the myCVS Journey program, please contact your school or community-based organization’s representative.

Download the myCVS Journey program brochure for more information.

Millennials have the world at their fingertips but it's harming their health, CVS Health study finds

Top of the article

Path to Better Health Study reveals opportunity to balance digital health with social connection

WOONSOCKET, R.I., July 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Millennials may be the first digital natives, but that love of technology could also be harming their health, according to the Path to Better Health Study by CVS Health (NYSE: CVS). The study, now in its second year, explores consumer health goals and asks providers what they need to help patients reach those goals.

Millennials a generation that came of age during the rise of technology and that has led a more transient, flexible lifestyle have more difficulty meeting new people or making social connections compared to other generations, notably consumers 65 and older, according to the study, which was published today. More than half (53 percent) of consumers aged 18–34 say they don’t know where to meet new people, compared to just 27 percent of people 65 and older and 35 percent of those aged 51–64. Nearly half (48 percent) of millennials also say they no longer have a desire to be social, compared to just 20 percent of consumers 65 and older and 35 percent of those aged 51–64, suggesting that older consumers may have different social needs.

That social isolation may be leading to increased problems with mental illness and abuse of alcohol. Forty-two percent say they struggle or know someone else struggling with mental illness (the highest of all age groups), and 35 percent cite having had problems or knowing someone who has had problems with alcohol use in the last five years (compared to 26 percent overall).

Consumers of all ages rate themselves as either good or excellent across most of the six well-being dimensions: character strengths (72 percent), sense of purpose and social connectedness (63 percent each), emotional health (62 percent), physical health (58 percent) and financial security (47 percent).

“Millennials who helped pioneer the use of the Internet and social media have a significant influence on health care transformation. Their need for greater support in making and maintaining social connections, and in achieving their mental health goals, indicates that we need a system focused not just on physical health but on total health,” said Karen S. Lynch, Executive Vice President, CVS Health, and President of Aetna. “Our physical health is directly impacted by other important aspects of our lives including our mental health, social connections and financial health. The good news is that people are getting proactive about addressing these holistic concerns. Now, our health system must adapt to how consumers are approaching health care and be more inclusive and supportive of people’s total health.”

Integrating digital health tools to support personal connection

Transforming the health system in a way that balances digital health support with personal connection will be key to providing millennials and future generations the support they need in the ways most convenient to them.

Millennials, predictably, show a greater reliance on digital technologies, including health tools. Sixty-four percent of consumers aged 18–34 feel that being able to monitor their health is very or somewhat important, compared to 52 percent of those aged 65 and up. Their use of digital health tools varies as well, according to their respective health priorities. Electronic diaries or apps (28 percent), wearable trackers (27 percent) and calorie counters (26 percent) are the top three tools millennials use to track their personal health. Consumers 65 and older, meanwhile, use blood pressure monitors with tracking capabilities (24 percent), wearable trackers (15 percent) and blood or glucose monitors (13 percent) the most to track their personal health.

Although nearly half of millennials (46 percent) still value in-person walk-in office hours to communicate with their providers, their reliance on primary care physicians is the lowest of any consumer group. Just 45 percent say they receive routine care for minor illness or injury from a primary care physician, compared to 59 percent of those aged 35-50 and 76 percent of those 65 and older. Another 32 percent, meanwhile, receive such care at non-emergency walk-in clinics, and 14 percent at their local pharmacies the highest among all generations for both care settings.

“The existing system of episodic health care is falling short, but we are working to reinvent health care to better connect with all consumers, including millennials, and improve their overall well-being,” said Alan Lotvin, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer, CVS Health. “Through multiple initiatives, including our goal to dramatically expand HealthHUB services and locations, we are providing digital and physical connections that feel like essentially every other interaction in our life seamless, simple and easily available. By engaging consumers through local connections and providing personalized, daily support, we can radically change the way consumers engage in their health. That’s where we are going as a company and where we need to go as a nation.”

Other highlights from the study include:

  • Chronic health conditions are driving consumer health goals. The health goals consumers have today are centered around the top four chronic conditions they or someone in their household are facing: These include obesity and other weight concerns (42 percent), high blood pressure (40 percent), mental illness (32 percent) and diabetes (20 percent).
  • Women are more likely to report concerns with weight and living with mental illness. Nearly half of women (47 percent) say they struggle or have someone in their household struggling with obesity or other weight concerns, compared to just 31 percent of men. Women (36 percent) are also more likely to report suffering from or having someone in their household suffering from mental illness, compared to just 23 percent of men who report the same.
  • Supporting providers in enhancing digital capabilities could be key to unlocking better care outcomes. Providers need greater support in balancing digital adoption with caring for patients, but those who do receive such support and adopt digital tools are likely to record better patient outcomes. For example, 58 percent of providers who use patient portals recommend that their patients set health goals, compared to just 14 percent of providers who don’t use such portals. Using digital tools also helps providers spend more time with patients: Sixty-two percent who use mobile apps to communicate with patients are somewhat or very satisfied with time spent with patients, compared to 38 percent of providers who don't use mobile apps.
  • Value-based care is taking hold, and it lends itself to greater satisfaction among providers. More than half (62 percent) of providers say their practice is highly involved or becoming involved in the use of value-based care. Among those who have heard of such models, 57 percent are very satisfied with time spent with patients, versus just 43 percent of providers who haven’t heard of them. When it comes to supporting value-based care, meanwhile, pharmacists are the biggest proponents, with 93 percent saying it will positively impact patient health.

Read the full study here.

About the study

The Path to Better Health Study by CVS Health, first released in 2018 and called the Health Ambitions Study, was conducted in April and May 2019 and included two surveys fielded by Market Measurement, a national market research consulting firm. The consumer survey comprised 1,000 participants 18 and older, located throughout the U.S. It also oversampled six metropolitan statistical areas Atlanta, Austin, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle and South Florida, and among two ethnic groups: African Americans and Hispanics. The survey of 400 providers focused on primary care physicians and specialists with at least two years’ experience. In 2019, the study was expanded to include nurse practitioners, physician assistants and pharmacists.

About CVS Health

CVS Health is the nation’s premier health innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Whether in one of its pharmacies or through its health services and plans, CVS Health is pioneering a bold new approach to total health by making quality care more affordable, accessible, simple and seamless. CVS Health is community-based and locally focused, engaging consumers with the care they need when and where they need it. The Company has more than 9,900 retail locations, approximately 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with approximately 94 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year, expanding specialty pharmacy services, and a leading stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. CVS Health also serves an estimated 38 million people through traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including rapidly expanding Medicare Advantage offerings. This innovative health care model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at


T.J. Crawford

Kathleen Biesecker


Hide Media Contacts (Sidebar)
Press Release
Hide Share
"Likes" Count
Display Hero
CSR Pillars